Behind the carnage in Iraq: ISIS intends to divide and conquer

The Daily Beast reports: Baghdad suffered its deadliest day in months during a series of attacks Wednesday. The carnage not only shocked the capital, but also raised questions about whether Iraqi security forces are capable of reclaiming Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which has been occupied for almost two years by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

One obvious question is how Iraqi security forces can retake and secure Mosul if they cannot protect Baghdad from three suicide bombings in a matter of hours. But the picture is more complicated, and indeed, more problematic even than that.

The bombings targeted Shia neighborhoods in what appears to be part of the continuing ISIS effort to provoke a frenzy of ethnic cleansing similar to that of a decade ago. As one U.S. official immersed in the anti-ISIS war puts it, “Sunnis see ISIS as their protection — their wall against Shia revenge.”

The estimates of those killed Wednesday are as high as 150, with hundreds more injured. Among those reportedly killed were several women at a hair salon struck by a truck bomb as they prepared for their wedding day. [Continue reading…]

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